Although laser-based additive manufacturing (AM) has enabled unprecedented fabrication of complex parts directly from digital models, broader adoption of the technology remains challenged by insufficient reliability and in-process variations. In pursuit of assuring quality in the selective laser sintering (SLS) AM, this paper builds a modeling and control framework of the key thermodynamic interactions between the laser source and the materials to be processed. First, we develop a three-dimensional finite element simulation to understand the important features of the melt pool evolution for designing sensing and feedback algorithms. We explore how the temperature field is affected by hatch spacing and thermal properties that are temperature-dependent. Based on high-performance computer simulation and experimentation, we then validate the existence and effect of periodic disturbances induced by the repetitive in- and cross-layer thermomechanical interactions. From there, we identify the system model from the laser power to the melt pool width and build a repetitive control algorithm to greatly attenuate variations of the melt pool geometry.